At least 444 companies have been approved by the four second-phase agencies for registration on the Online Business Registration Platform, also known as the “Single Portal”, which observers claim has created a good environment for businesspeople, offering convenience and reducing informal costs.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance reported that telecoms ministry approved the most, at 234, followed by the tourism ministry (135), the Real Estate Business and Pawnshop Regulator (70) and the industry ministry (5) during the period between the September 1, 2021 launch of the Single Portal’s Phase II and February 6, 2023.

The government launched the platform on June 15, 2020 to streamline the registration process for companies, as part of a package of sweeping reforms aimed at improving the business and investment environment in Cambodia to better compete internationally, especially during the Covid-19 crisis.

In its initial phase, just six government agencies were linked to the Single Portal: the finance, interior, commerce and labour ministries, as well as the General Department of Taxation (GDT) and Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).

On September 1, 2021, the government deployed Phase II of the platform, integrating the aforementioned four new agencies.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath confidently beat the drum for the Single Portal, affirming that the platform greatly improves the business and investment environment in the Kingdom, which he said reflects government reforms that are geared towards making registration easier and trimming a variety of informal costs.

“Registration through the online platform not only limits the number of meetings between registrants, but also cuts down the time it would take to register on-site as well as the burden of informal fees,” he said. “It creates convenience and instils confidence among the private sector to do business.”

At the Phase II launch ceremony, finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth suggested that Cambodia’s digital transformation should centre on seizing and maximising the benefits of breakthroughs in the electronic and ICT (information and communication technology) sphere.

And, that transformation should be leveraged to promote productivity, efficiency and economic growth, as well as a society that evolves with the times, distinguished by beneficial and readily-available digital services that are highly inclusive, safe and reliable, he said.

The second phase of Single Portal comes timely, amid the implementation of a policy framework focused on the advantages of digital technologies and the management thereof, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis, he added.

The minister remarked that the underlying Cambodia Data Exchange (CamDX) system allows the Single Portal to run smoothly, and without requiring the same information and data to be provided to multiple sources.

“[The platform is] much easier, and reduces costs and procedures while saving time, from 15-30 days previously to just three-to-seven working days if the request meets the requirements,” Pornmoniroth added.

Launched on the same day as the Single Portal and based on the model of Estonia’s X-Road, the CamDX system is a decentralised but unified data-exchange layer between information systems that provides a standardised and secure way to produce and consume services, according to its website.